Feeling Face Form

On the trails of Susanne Schmida
By accident the artist group FeinSinn came across the heritage of Dr. Susanne Schmida (1894 – 1981). This – along with other items – contained photographs, manuscripts, sketches, tape-recordings and music for the piano, all these being pieces that combined to form the base and starting point of “Gefühl, Gesicht, Gestalt” (Feeling, Face, Form).
Susanne Schmida counts among the few women in the Austrian dance and gymnastics scene in the twenties and thirties of the twentieth century who turned their backs on National Socialism – Schmida’s reasons not just stemming from the fact that she was married to a man of Jewish origin.
As one of the first women in Austria Susanne Schmida received her Doctor of Philosophy. She studied Gymnastics and Dance at the Loheland teacher Hilde Hager. She devoted her life to the organization and management of her own school for dance and yoga, teaching philosophical contents in her classes as well. Thus she guided many students through a several years’ training of dance and gymnastics, the end of the training being the “initiation”.

The performance of about 55 minutes, danced by Sieglinde Gerold, Wolfgang Kühn (two former students of Susanne Schmida) and Elke Pichler shows reconstructions of “Raumlinien Gymnastik” (space-lines gymnastics), a work by Susanne Schmida, which theoretically corroborates her way of dancing instruction. The piece also bears reference to the dance and gymnastics roots of the Schmida School – the Loheland School. The performance is completed with an exhibition of documents, sheet music and photos from the heritage, as well as historic background information.
The music is by Christoph Willibald Gluck, Frederic Chopin, Erik Satie, Dimitri Schostakowitsch, Hans Dokupil and Alexander Nantschev. All pieces are played live by Michael Flatz, Wolfgang Kühn, Alexander Nantschev, Oswald Ruttner (a former Susanne Schmida pianist) and Robert Siegel. Furthermore, surviving original tape-recordings of Susanne Schmida’s lessons from the seventies are incorporated.
“For Mrs Dr. Susanne Schmida who, through her way, took me to my way.” (dedication on a photo in Susanne Schmida’s heritage)

Sponsored by Stadt Wien / MA7 , in cooperation with Austrian Theatre Museum

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